Yesterday, we looked at the growth of conscious consumption. And its benefits for society overall. Now, we turn to an example of how consumers can do their part in a specific product category. As they are more often shopping for sustainable clothing.
When transitioning to longer-lasting apparel, many consumers will need to change their behavior. For instance, like with the frequent purchase of new iPhones, consumers must become more willing to hold on to clothes longer. In the United States, millions of consumers are more apt to buy new clothes for stylistic reasons. Rather because the clothing wears out.
Apparel That Lasts: Shopping for Sustainable Clothing
During an article for the New York Times, Kendra Pierre-Louis notes that:
“You may have removed last season’s hot fashion trend from your closet, but the effect of that item still lingers. From the energy used in its production to its continued presence in one of the nation’s landfills. The total environmental impact of our outfit choices are a growing concern. Why? Because, buoyed by the rise of fast fashion, we’re consuming and discarding more clothes than ever.”
“In 2015, the last year for which the EPA has data, the United States generated 11.9 million tons — or about 75 pounds per person — of textile waste. Most of that ended up in landfills. That’s more than a 750 percent increase since 1960. For reference, that’s nearly 10 times more than the increase in the country’s population over the same time period.”
“This growth in clothing waste coincides with the dominance of fast-fashion brands. Including H&M and Zara, whose business models are based on selling low-priced items at high volumes. For example, Zara releases 20,000 new designs a year, according to a spokesman,. And it unveils new lines during micro seasons beyond the traditional winter/fall and summer/spring lines. The strategy encourages customers to shop regularly for new looks.”
“Faced with this reality, the concept of ‘slow fashion’ has emerged over the past decade. As a kind of counterbalance to fast fashion. The idea: slow down the rapid pace of clothing consumption and instead buy fewer more durable items. It’s an idea championed, for example, by the fashion blogger Cat Chiang, Natalie Live of the brand The Tiny Closet, and Emma Kidd, a doctoral researcher in Britain who launched a 10-week ‘fashion detox.’”
Click the image to read A LOT MORE about the marketing of longer-lasting apparel from Pierre-Lewis.